“Good morning, please take off everything from the top, then put on this gown with the opening in the front”
Yes, that’s the phrase I hear from the friendly technician when it’s time for my annual mammogram and on Monday at 7:30 am I had my 12th.
“Have you noticed any changes to your breasts?”
“Have you felt any lumps or experienced soreness in your breasts?”
“Do you have on any deodorant?”
“Okay, are you ready?”
“let’s start with the right side first….left arm down…grip here…move up a little closer…you’ll feel a little pressure…okay hold it…now relax.”
Next it’s from a different angle, then repeated on the left side.
This is the only conversation we have while having my breasts moved, lifted, adjusted then flattened between two plates to be imaged.
For all my years of having mammograms, I can honestly say, it’s never really hurt, uncomfortable, yes, but not overly painful. I have always scheduled my exam during Breast Cancer Awareness Month as a big reminder to have it done – no excuses or memory lapses.
Sadly, far too many women refuse to have a mammogram because of the preconceived notion that there will be unbearable pain involved, trust me, the pain of not going can be far worse.
I have lost an aunt and cousin to Breast Cancer and have several other cousins who are Breast Cancer survivors, so I know it’s better to be checked and uncomfortable for 15 minutes than not at all.
Have I ever been called back after a mammogram?
Yes, and it was nerve-wracking to say the least, but nothing was found. It was just the density of the breast, the angle of the image or noticeable calcification on the x-ray, which is why you are asked not to wear deodorant before the exam. Most deodorants/antiperspirants contain aluminum which is very similar to microcalcifiactions, which is an early indication of breast cancer.
I had my first Mammogram at the age of 40, however, it is now suggested that women, especially African American women begin at the age of 35. If you have any questions or need additional information, please check out www.cancer.org.
Early detection is key, however, when women are not vigilant in doing monthly self breast exams or having an annual mammogram the survival rates decrease. Triple Negative Breast Cancer is now the most dangerous form of breast cancer and is prevalent among African American women. Treatment for it can kill or even cause another form of cancer to appear, Robin Roberts is a survivor of Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
Do Breast Self Exams Monthly – The Best Protection is Early Detection!
P&G has a new Downloadable Phone app that aids in early cancer detection, so try it out today.